The Appeal court in Owerri, Imo State, today, affirmed Senator Duoye Diri as governor of Bayelsa State.
While delivering delivering its judgment on the suit, the court dismissed a suit filed by former Bayelsa governorship aspirant who flew the part flag of the Peoples Democratic Party, Timi Alaibe, challenging the emergence of Sen. Diri as the winner of the PDP primaries held on September 3, 2019.
Alaibe had taken the governor and the Independent National Electoral Commission to court over what he described as a ‘flawed process’ of the PDP primary.
But the court dismissed the suit for lacking in merit and upheld an earlier judgment of a Federal High Court in Owerri.
Recall that the Supreme Court had declared PDP as winner of the Bayelsa State governorship polls, which had Sen Diri as its candidate in the November 16 governorship election.
The Supreme court’s decision had invalidated Chief David Lyon of the All Progressives Congress (APC) election who was earlier declared as the winner and governor-elect by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the Bayelsa State governorship elections.
Chief Alaibe who came second in the disputed PDP primaries that produced Diri as PDP candidate is generally perceived as a strong, authentic and solid material that may have been shortchanged by political racketeering allegedly engineered by former governor Seriake Dickson.
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Alaibe is said to predicate his case on grounds that PDP committed electoral, and constitutional illegality by blatantly allowing local government chairmen, councilors, and all shades of ineligible persons to vote during the PDP primaries in sharp contrast, and utter violation of the party’s guidelines which do not permit elected chairmen and councilors elected within 90 days to the election, to vote during governorship primaries.
However, Mr Diri was sworn in and he took over from Seriake Dickson who finished his tenure after eight years in office.
Mr Diri and his deputy, Lawrence Ewhrujakporboth, took the oath of office in Yenagoa, the state capital, in the presence of hundreds of supporters.
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Sen. Diri had taken over rather dramatically after a five-member panel of the apex court led by Justice Mary Odili sacked Mr Lyon on the grounds that his deputy, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, presented false information to the electoral commission, INEC.
The apex court in the judgment delivered by Ejembi Eko consequently ordered INEC to withdraw the certificate of return issued to Messrs Lyon and Degi-Eremienyo.
The judge also ordered that INEC should immediately declare the party with the highest number of lawful votes and geographical spread.
The INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, on Friday, formally declared Mr Diri winner of the polls. He said the decision was in compliance with the apex court’s decision.
With this win, it is unsure if Timi Alaibe will proceed to the supreme court as Senator Diri had earlier extended an olive branch to all participants of the last election.
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